CreativeLive, One of My Favorite Educational Resources

*This post contains affiliate links. To learn more about our affiliate program click here*

CreativeLive is an amazing resource for creatives who want to learn new skills as well as entrepreneurs wanting to learn to create and grow their businesses. Each day they run several streaming classes. Some are live classes and some are rebroadcasts. Any of these streams can be watched for free. When you watch a live class you have the opportunity to ask questions of the instructors and participate in the chat rooms with the other students.

After a class has aired they are archived and available for purchase. If you purchase a class you can download the videos or stream them any time you want. You also often get access to freebies that the instructor has provided as a bonus to those who buy the class. Classes  are very reasonably prices, starting as low as $29. Also if you follow CreativeLive on Facebook they will often announce sales and specials.

CreativeLive started out geared mostly towards photographers. As they have grown they have expanded into 5 different main channels which are photo & video, art & design, music & audio, craft & maker, and money & life. They have classes on everything from marketing and sales to calligraphy and scrapbooking. They will also often run events such as Photoshop Week, where they will bring several instructors in to give shorter classes on one specific topic for an extended period of time.

CreativeLive||online education|distance learning|live studio audience|live streaming classes
The entire studio audience and crew after the Julia Kelleher Creative Newborn Photography Studio course. I’m the pink bumble bee 😉

One of the best parts of CreativeLive is the live studio audience. CreativeLive has recording studios in Seattle and San Francisco. Each class has a studio audience that is invited to attend for FREE! The only cost to the students is travel and lodging if needed. This is an amazing opportunity, as taking in person classes from many of these well known instructors would run several hundred or even thousand dollars! I have been blessed to attend one class in each studio location. They were both awesome experiences. The one on one talks with the instructors as well as networking with other students was invaluable. If you want to attend a class simply scroll to the bottom of the homepage and click on “In the Audience”. This will take you to a page which shows upcoming classes and you can select which class you’d like to apply for and request an invitation to attend.

Overall CreativeLive is one of the best resources I’ve seen for creatives and entrepreneurs. If you haven’t checked it out yet do it now!

Have you watched a CreativeLive class or been in the audience? What was your favorite class? If you haven’t attended yet what is one class coming up that you are interested in?


Watercolor Ballerina- Sakura Koi Brush Pens Review

*this post contains affiliate links*

Until now I have done most of my artwork digitally using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Corel Painter. Recently I have wanted to do more traditional work, and have bought several different art supplies. One of my new favorites are the Sakura Koi Brush Pens. These pens are water based and can be manipulated in the same way as traditional watercolors. They were a ton of fun to use!

For this little ballerina I first drew the outline in Illustrator. I still do better at sketching digitally than I do by hand! I then printed her out on Bristol Smooth paper.

Now it was time to play with the pens! I got the 24 set as well as the colorless blenders. You can blend these with water as well, but I figured the blender pens would be the easiest method. When you are doing art with 6 kids running around a cup of water is just asking for trouble! I would love to get some water brush pens so that I can blend with water without needing an open cup. I also purchased the 6 piece grays set, though I did not use them on this project.

Before I got started with the brush pens I experimented a bit on another piece of paper to get the hang of how the colors worked and blended. I watched several YouTube tutorials, and this was the most useful one.

I then set to work coloring in my little ballerina. I drew my lines of color where I wanted them to be darkest, then blended color into the entire area. Once everything was dry I went back over the parts where I wanted shadow then carefully blended the edges for softness.


Watercolor little girl ballerina with bear||Sakura Koi Brush Pen|
I think I might love her!

I would love to see any work you have done with the Sakura Koi Brush Pens. What are your favorite watercolor supplies and tutorials? Please share links in the comments so I can check them out!

Serenity Prayer Zentangle

What is Zentangle?

I have recently discovered and fallen in love with doodle drawings also commonly called Zentangle. This type of art has been around since the beginning of man, but has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity due to Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas giving it the name Zentangle and dictating rules to follow as you create it. Most artists, however, don’t really believe in following rules so we take what we can from the art form and then invent our own ways of creating. Most artists then call their works Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA) or simply just doodle drawings. One thing I have chosen to incorporate into my art is including my favorite quotes, sayings, and scriptures. I then tangle around them making beautiful motivational art that I can decorate my home with.

Benefits of Tangling

1- Meditation

The original intent of creating Zentangle was for meditational purposes. The idea is that as you concentrate on making the repetitive strokes necessary to create the fill patterns you are able to relax your mind and let go of the jumbled thoughts of the day. It affects my mind in a way similar to deep breathing exercises and has actually been called “yoga for the brain”.

2- Develop Creative Abilities

Anyone can begin creating ZIA by following the myriad of step by step instructions available for different patterns. Check out my Zentangle Pintrest board where I have saved many different patterns for reference. As you become more familiar with your favorite patterns then you can start to add your own embellishments and variations to make each piece uniquely you.

3- Increase Hand Eye Coordination and Spatial Awareness

The careful creation of each stroke can do a lot to increase hand eye muscle coordination. You can make strokes large or small. You have to match angles and align different strokes to create correct patterns. All of this programs the brain to be aware of spatial relationships. It is excellent for kids to work on their writing skills which can then hopefully translate into better penmanship.

4- Therapy

For me personally Zentangling has been wonderful therapy. Creating with permanent pens represents life; I can’t erase so I have to find a way to turn my “mistakes” into a part of the finished product. I also like to include my favorite thoughts, quotes, and scriptures into my work. This gives me time to ponder on the message of those words and how I can then apply them in my life. For many people doodling can be a way to process through their emotions of fear, anger, hurt, embarrassment, and more. It can also be used in addiction therapy by giving a patient something to focus their mind on as they are working on avoiding their triggers and cravings.

5- Increased Attention Span

Entangling requires concentration and focus. The repetitive strokes and patterns train the user to calm their mind and focus one creating their art. Often the act of doodling can increase a person’s ability to listen to a class or lecture going on as it draws their mind away from other external distractions.

6- The Finished Product

Of course the finished art itself is the number one benefit of tangling. Through the act of creating and sharing art self-esteem is boosted. A person feels like they have contributed to their community in a meaningful way. They also can be reminded of the other benefits they experienced while creating each time they look at the piece.


There are many good resources out their for learning the art of Zentangle. The first of course would be the actual Zentangle website. Here you can learn the story behind the creation on the official rules as well as get reference for many patterns to try. They even have a list of certified zentangle instructors if you’d rather learn form a class instead of by researching on your own. There are several great books out there as well. One that has been highly recommended in many of the groups I am in on Facebook (there are several of them so just search Zentangle then join the ones that appeal to you) is One Zentangle a Day by Beckah Krahula. This is a 6 week course that will teach you new techniques and patterns each day. For kids we have and love the book “Zentangle for Kidz” by sandy Bartholomew. This fun book is written comic book style and introduces children to the art of Zentangle as well as including instructions for several patterns. Sandy also has several other books and sets of pattern step-out inspirations cards. Many anglers like to use the cards when they are stuck not knowing which pattern to draw next. Simply pull out a card and use whatever pattern it instructs you on!


The most basic supplies needed for Entangling are paper, permanent fine line black pen, pencil, eraser, and pattern references. I personally use Sakura pens and a set of Royal & Langnickel sketching pencils. I got the sets on both of these so that I would have a variety of options for line widths and shading capabilities. I also use Koh-i-Noor Woodless Colored Pencils and am planning to purchase the Prismacolor colored pencils for more shade variety in the near future. Many artists also love to use Copic Markers and watercolors to color their artwork. Many artists will make copies of their black and white line work before adding color so they can experiment with different options. I love to pull my tangled pieces into Corel Painter to play with with different colorization methods. I love that I can do many different methods on one piece of art by utilizing the technology available to me.

Serenity Prayer|Zentangle Inspired art|ZIA|Zentangle|Doodle

Here is an example of my most recent ZIA. I created the word art in Photoshop and printed it on regular white paper. I then created my line drawing with the Sakura pens. I scanned it into the computer and made a copy for coloring with colored pencils. I then pulled it into Corel Painter and did one copy with just shading and a second copy with various watercolor brushes. I had a ton of fun and now I can’t decide which one I like best! If you happen to like it prints of this and my other works are available on my Fine Art America page and Cafepress.

Do you like to create doodle or Zentangle art? I would love to see your work! Feel free to share your link in the comments so I can check you out.

Painted Portraits

**this post contains affiliate links. Please click here to learn more.***

One of the digital art services that I offer is custom painted portraits. I believe that these portraits are a beautiful way to liven up your traditional family photos. I can take a simple snapshot and transform it into a wall worthy work of art. Every photo session I do I paint at least one of the images for my client’s gallery and can paint more on commission.

This is an image I photographed during a lifestyle newborn session and then painted in a watercolor style.
This is an image I photographed during a lifestyle newborn session and then painted in a watercolor style.

Each portrait is painted by me using both Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter. I take a reference photo, either one I’ve taken or one sent to me by a client, and turn it into a beautiful painting. Each image is color corrected and styled in Photoshop to prepare for painting. They are then taken into Corel Painter and painted by hand utilizing my Wacom tablet as my paintbrush. Each image is a completely unique custom work of art. I then have your painting printed on fine art canvas and gallery wrapped or custom framed. I believe these portraits are the perfect mother’s day gift and I would love to paint one for you!

This was a photograph I took during a breastfeeding session and painted in an oil/pastels style.
This was a photograph I took during a breastfeeding session and painted in an oil/pastels style.

I am able to do many a few different styles of paintings. My specialties are watercolor and oil/pastel. Corel painter has an amazing selection of brushes that allow me to mimic pretty much any medium I choose! I do most of my paintings with the oil and pastel brushes.

This is a photo I took of my daughter. Those beautiful eyes were just begging for a traditional oil painting style.
This is a photo I took of my daughter. Those beautiful eyes were just begging for a traditional oil painting style.

As you can see each image is a one of a kind custom work of art.  If you purchase the printed product you will also receive the digital file.

These painted portraits make the perfect gift for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas and any other event you can think of. Mother’s day is only 6 weeks away, why not get your mother a custom work of art she will treasure forever! You can order your image in my etsy shop.